Top seed Alexander Zverev stayed on course for a Cologne double as he defeated rising star Jannik Sinner 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the semi-finals of the bett1HULKS Championship on Saturday.
An under-the-weather Zverev had lost to the Italian in four sets in the French Open fourth round earlier this month.
“I was playing a player I just lost to at Roland Garros,” the 23-year-old German said in an on-court interview. “That was still in the back of my head. I was not going to lose today.”
Zverev had won the first title of 2020 in Cologne only last week, when he defeated Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 last Sunday. He extended his winning streak to seven matches in the German city and will face Diego Schwartzman in this week’s final on Sunday.
In the semi-final on Saturday, Zverev overcame a 1-4 deficit in the opening set, and used his backhand to great effect to push it into a tie break. His serve got better as the match progressed: he won 82 per cent of first-serve points in the second set and won in an hour and 48 minutes.
Second seed Schwartzman, meanwhile, survived a spirited fightback from Auger-Aliassime to beat the youngster 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Humbert saves four match points
From down match point to the Antwerp final 😲
That was some comeback, @HumbertUgo! 👏
— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 24, 2020
French player Ugo Humbert saved four match points to prevail 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 over Dan Evans in a three-four-14-minute thriller in Antwerp.
Humbert recovered from 3/6 and 6/7 down in the tie-break to push the match into the decider.
“The start of the match wasn’t easy as he didn’t give me much pace and suddenly he accelerated,” said Humbert.
“I need to find a solution and came to the net more. I was four match points down, but I was mentally strong and I took my opportunities. I remained aggressive and when I won the second set, I knew I’d regained the momentum. I’m very pleased to have reached the second ATP Tour final of my career.”
The 22-year-old will take on Alex de Minaur in the final of the European Open in Antwerp on Sunday. De Minaur, known as the ‘Demon’ for his grit and retrieving ability, overcame a tough three-setter himself, as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes.